How To Use Email to Build Your Practice Part 1

One of the humblest and simplest tools on the web can also be the most powerful. In the glitter and glitz of putting together a website, SEO and social networking, this powerful device is almost always overlooked.

Is email dead?

bigstock-Corpse-5448632-resizedTake a moment to think about how you use the Internet every day. Which of the following are you most likely to do at the beginning of your day?

  • Casual surfing
  • Online shopping
  • Searching for information
  • Checking out your friends activity on social media
  • Reviewing “bookmarked” sites
  • Picking up your email

If you are like 99% of people on the web, one of the first things you’ll do when you go online is…

…check your mailbox.

They say that email is dead. But how are “they” getting that message out to people? Through email!

What do you need to sign up for a social media account? An email!

Where do you get notifications of activity on social media sites? In your email!

What is the web application that is used by more people than all others? You guessed it: Email!

So when marketing on the Net, doesn’t it make sense to go where people are? In their inboxes.

You want to be accessible in the search engines when people are searching massage services specifically. But the truth is very few people will call you up to book an appointment immediately after seeing your website.

They may be well intentioned. But…

  • Maybe they’re a little nervous about seeing you and want to think about it for a while
  • Maybe it’s after hours and they can’t call you
  • Maybe they have doubts as to whether or not you can help them
  • Maybe they bookmark your site with the idea that they’ll look at it later

Whatever the reason, even the most interested viewers will likely click out of your site, never to return.

What’s a massage girl (or guy) to do?

It should appear obvious…

Get permission to send them an email.

Start sending emails…

Although your website visitors may not go as far as booking an appointment, they may be quite willing to give you their email address. And the difference between those two things is as big as asking them to marry you as opposed to asking them on a date.

Interestingly, you’ll find that anywhere from 5% to 30% of site visitors will give you their email address if you ask in the right way. 

Once they give you permission to send them an email, you can visit them on a regular basis. You can drop into their inbox to:

  • Remind them that you are there for them
  • Educate them as to how you can help them and the people they know
  • Motivate them to take that next step of booking an appointment so that they can benefit from your services

Over time, you’ll find that a certain number of these people will come in to see you. That means that more people benefit from your skills. It also means more money in your bank account.

How much more money?

How about $28.60 for each subscriber every year!

Email subscribers = Money

That’s right. If you start developing an email list you can make $28.60 for every subscriber you have, year after year.

Where did I get that number? I didn’t pull it out of my butt. I got that number from a massage therapist who generously shared actual sales numbers from his practice with me. I’ll share the whole story with you next week, so look out for it.

Where are you going to look for it? 

That’s right! In an email!!

See you next week,

Eric Brown, Grand Massage Poobah

http://www.bodyworkbiz.com

PS If you are not already signed up for the BodyworkBiz Massage Marketing Tips newsletter, sign up here: http://bodyworkbiz.com/newsletter.php

How Often Should You Send a Newsletter?

Everybody has a different opinion when it comes to sending email newsletters to clients. When there’s a lot of conflicting advice, it’s best just to look at the evidence. And in the case of web marketing I usually turn to Dan Zarella, the social media scientist.

He has analyzed over 9.5 billion emails sent through MailChimp. Yes, you heard right… over 9 billion commercial emails. That’s a very large sample to analyze and so the results are pretty accurate.

I won’t go through all the findings, but I’ll look at one of the questions that comes up most often: How often should you send emails to your contact list?

Massage therapists are often concerned that they are being a nuisance by sending too often. If you are a nuisance people will stop clicking links in your emails. So if people are clicking links, you have a good indication that people are enjoying your newsletter and actively paying attention. This is called the clickthrough rate or CTR. The higher the CTR, the better.

If we take a look at clickthroughs in Zarella’s research, we see that the highest clickthrough rates happen for newsletters that are sent once per month. However, after sending two emails a month the frequency has little effect on CTR. So it really makes little difference whether you send once per week or seven times per week. There is no drop off in clickthrough rate.

The bottom line: There seems to be no danger in emailing “too much”…  but on the condition that you have something valuable to share.

email-frequency

Before and After: Educated Heart Website Makeover

Your website represents you and your practice. If your website looks bad, you will be judged accordingly. Visitors will think that your service is  cheap, outdated, disorganized or unprofessional. I know that seems so superficial, but that’s the way it works.  Massage is intangible after all. So people can only judge you by the tangible things that surround you, like your website. 

Recently, I recreated Laura Allen’s Educated Heart website.

The Educated Heart is a fantastic book and in my opinion has one of the best (and most readable) approaches to the topic of ethics. It was originally written by Nina McIntosh, but taken over by Laura Allen when Nina passed away.

Take a look at her original site. At a glance, what are you initial impressions? Is this book a credible book on the topic of ethics? Does it look unique? Is the book engaging and easy to read? How knowledgeable is the author? Does this website inspire confidence that the author knows what she’s talking about? Is it even clear at first glance that the site is promoting a book?

Here’s the “before”…

Educated Heart Website Before 1

Your impression is likely that this book is nothing special. Probably written by a lonely person in their basement. And if you go into the site it gets worse..

Educated Heart Website Before 2

The disorder and lack of attention to detail (even look at the frames around the images) indicates that this is not a professional book that deserves my attention. If the writing or thoughts in the book are half as cluttered as this page, there is no way I’m picking it up.

Laura, of course, inherited this existing site and was very aware of the issues. I love the book that Nina’s written and felt it deserved to be showcased better, so I offered to help Laura recreate the site. Here’s the “after”:

Educated Heart Website After 1

Educated Heart Website After 2

With this makeover, it’s clear that the site is about a book. The professional look of the site immediately changes your perception about the quality of the book and the value of the information it contains. The book in this new site is credible and deserves your attention.

I didn’t take a before shot on mobile, but it was unreadable. Now when anyone accesses the site from a smart phone or tablet, the site detects whatever device they are using and shows a mobile-friendly version of the site that displays beautifully.

I’ve created well over 100 websites for massage therapists, as well as sites for software developers, educators, restaurants, industrial manufacturers, consultants and more.

Would you like me to know some of the elements that go into making an effective massage website – one that works to get more clients through your doors? If so, Like or Share this page. Or if you have specific questions or topic areas you’d like to know more about, post them in the comments section below. If I see that there’s enough interest, I’ll share what I know about making your website work for your massage practice through this blog.

Thanks to Laura Allen for allowing me to share this makeover with you.

And because I know some people will ask… I’m sorry to say that I no longer create simple sites for massage therapists, but if you have a bigger web project you need help with, feel free to contact me and we can chat.

Three Things Massage Therapists Can Learn from the First Kiss Video…

I love this video that perfectly captures the awkwardness of a first kiss…

Just to be clear. This video was produced by a clothing company and some of the people in the video are wearing the company’s clothing. It wasn’t meant to be an advertisement in the traditional sense. (A little background check and you’ll find that the company has produced a number of short films.) It wasn’t meant to be a viral video. That just happened as a result of the authentic emotions the video evoked in viewers.

But back to us as massage professionals… How can we apply the success of this video to our marketing efforts? What can we learn from a kissing video?

1. Use emotion

With 47 million views in just four days you know that this is powerful stuff. Why? Because people connected emotionally with the characters in this video. We have to recognize that to connect with people or to be memorable, there has to be an emotional response from your potential client. The simplest way to accomplish this is to focus your attention on outcomes, not processes. You can do this visually or in words. For example, if you are a spa therapist instead of showing gunk all over someone’s face during a facial, show an image of how happy that individual feel afterwards. If you are writing your website copy, don’t talk about massage being the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. Instead, tell them how good they’ll feel and the things they’ll be able to do after having had massage. It’s been said a million times: Every buying decision is an emotional decision. People use reasoning and logic to justify the purchase only after the decision is already made.

2. Be positive

While there is certainly a lot of fear-based marketing in play (and fear can can play an important role with some products or services), to really impact people you want to make them feel good, not bad. Like this video, you want to focus on possibilities rather than limitations. Unlike “evidenced-based” practitioners who continually draw our attention to all the things that massage can’t do, be a beacon of light and focus on the things that massage can do, especially as you tie those outcomes to emotion (re-read point number 1).

3. Keep it simple

Wren is not a clothing powerhouse. You’ve probably never heard of them. The total budget for this video production was $1,200. The participants were friends of the producer. They volunteered as a favor and weren’t paid. (She’s in the entertainment biz, so yes, some of her friends are actors and musicians). There was no elaborate set up. Just people in front of a blank wall. Bottom line: Great marketing does not have to be complicated or expensive. It just has to resonate with the potential client.

When you see something that affects people in such a powerful way, it’s important that you look for the lessons you can learn before you decide to tear it apart, dis it, and toss it in the trash. Be on the lookout for these little jewels and dig around and find out how you might be able to use the lessons learned in your business.

A Free Email Service for Massage Therapists

tinyletterlogoIf you are like 99% of people on the web, one of the first things you’ll do when you go online is…

…check your inbox.

So when marketing on the Net, doesn’t it make sense to go where people are? In their inboxes.

Some people say that email is dead, but the reality is that it’s still used by more people than social media. And although response and click-through rates may be down when compared to five years ago, email still remains one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your customers.

Many massage therapists are looking for a simple low-cost way to develop a newsletter. MailChimp is a full featured service that you can use for free for up to 2,000 subscribers (more than adequate for most private practices). But these full featured services can be quite complicated.

The solution, TinyLetter!

It’s a cross between a full featured service like MailChimp or Constant Contact and your regular email account. It does pretty much everything you need an email service to do, including automatic subscribes and unsubscribes, but makes it super simple. And it’s absolutely free: No strings attached. Perfect for your average massage therapist.

Check it out here: http://tinyletter.com

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Free eBook: Facebook Marketing in 20 Minutes a Week

A beginner’s guide for those who don’t have time to waste on Facebook

With over a billion people on Facebook you know it’s important for your business. But if you may not be interested in learning everything there is to know about Facebook. And even if you did you likely don’t have hours of free time every day to be using it, especially when the payoff for your time seems so uncertain.

This no-nonsense guide will lead you through six things you must absolutely do to set up your Facebook Page and will outline a simple Facebook marketing strategy that you can do in only 20 minutes a week or less.

Is Email Dead (Again)?

bigstock-Corpse-5448632I’ve received a number of emails from subscribers in response to headlines like:

  • Google Slaps Businesses
  • Gmail Deals Death Blow to Marketers
  • Email Is Dead
  • Google Deals a MAJOR Blow to MOST Business Emails

They are all overly dramatic headlines in response to the new Gmail interface and they are freaking people out.

Some massage therapists have been sending out regular communication to their contacts. (If you’ve been following this newsletter, you’ll already know that everyone should be doing this.) And they’re afraid that their efforts are going down the toilet.

If you’re not aware of the issue, here’s the scoop in a nutshell:

Gmail has changed their email interface and sorts your mail for you into tabs. I’ve been using the new Gmail interface since shortly after it was released in Beta. I actually like it and and can assure you that it’s not going to impact businesses in any significant way.

Firstly, not everyone uses Gmail. Only about 1 in 5 subscribers to this BodyworkBiz newsletter, for example, are Gmail users.

Secondly, it gives Gmail users a better way to manage their email reading, so when they click on the Promotions tab, for example, they are in a buying state and not simply ignoring your email as they look for messages from friends and family.

Here’s what one company has sent to all their Gmail subscribers (see below) and if this new interface is a concern for you, you may want to model this and send a similar email specifically to your Gmail subscribers…

Not sure if you’ve heard the news, but Gmail is making changes to how your inbox looks that may prevent you from seeing emails from us. Even if you haven’t seen this feature yet, sooner or later all Gmail users will automatically have it. 

Gmail will be automatically filtering any email communication from us so you won’t see it.(And we thought Google knew everything…Don’t they know you asked us for valuable tips and strategies to grow your business?!)

Until now, everything was categorized how you wanted it, but now, Gmail has decided to put on a new feature that filters your email how they see fit. So we want to make sure you know exactly what to do to take charge of your inbox.

Here’s What You’ll See:

gmail-tabs

In the tabs above your inbox, Gmail will put your emails into 5 categories:

  • Primary
  • Social
  • Promotions
  • Updates
  • Forums

The problem is, Gmail will automatically put the messages we send you into “Promotions” and you won’t see them because they won’t appear in your inbox.

How To Take Back Your Inbox:

Gmail does make it easy to change this to take back control of your inbox. When your inbox changes, here’s what you can do to make sure we stay connected.

  1. Find one of our emails in “Promotions” and drag it into “Primary”
  2. A pop-up will appear to ask if you want to do this for all future messages. Click “Yes”.

That’s it – now you’re all set – Gmail knows we’re friends! And now, you won’t miss any of our messages to you :-)

[Eric's note: If you are a Gmail user and are reading this email in your Promotions folder, you can follow the instructions above to see how it works, but I don't mind being in your Promotions folder either.]

Oh, and by the way – here’s a final tip if you’d like to totally get rid of this new feature:

  1. Go to “Settings” [the icon on the top right corner of your screen above your inbox] and select “Settings.”
  2. Click on the “Inbox” tab and “Unselect” all categories but “Primary” and then click “Save Changes.”

And that is it – your work is done.

Email as a marketing tool is pronounced dead on a regular basis, but in fact it is still very much alive and well. Don’t let the current headlines about Gmail freak you out. Carry on and communicate with your contacts regularly. It’s still one of the most cost effective things you can do to build your practice.

Simple Tips You Can Use Now for Getting the Most Out of Social Media

You may be the kind of person that uses social media in a very quiet way. You’re content to use one or two networks to keep in contact with your friends and family.

However, it’s important to establish a professional presence on social networks as well. People live on these networks. Not only do they socialize, but they use these networks to research products and services, to solicit opinions and reviews and to buy stuff.

If you’re not using social media for your massage business then you are missing out on a terrific opportunity to connect with people and get more clients under your hands.

I don’t believe you have to spend a lot of time on social media sites like Facebook to be effective and over the next couple weeks I’ll share some simple, quick, easy to implement social media tips with you in this blog, on the BodyworkBiz Facebook Page and in the BodyworkBiz newsletter.

Let’s get started with tip number one…

Tip 1: Create Profiles on Major Social Media Sites

Even if you are not active on social media sites, it’s extremely valuable to have a complete profile set up. Why? Because people will be looking for you and your business on these sites and they expect to find you. If they can’t find you easily, then they’ll look for someone else.

I would suggest at the very minimum setting up complete profiles on each of the following social media sites:

Through the month of April I’ll be providing BodyworkBiz fans a range of simple tips that are easy to implement and that take very little time to do. Be sure to Like BodyworkBiz on Facebook and subscribe to the Marketing Tips Newsletter to get these tips.

Facebook Changes News Feed

Today Facebook unveiled more changes to the site. This time it’s the News Feed. That’s the page you land on when you first log in that contains Posts from your Friends and Pages you follow.

Facebook doesn’t say exactly how the changes are going to impact business Pages, but at first glance it’s not good. Users will have the ability to choose more specifically what they want to see in their News Feed and will be able to filter any Page Posts out of their feed.

It seems as though businesses will have to be more engaging, use more visually interesting content and post more frequently to be seen. Once again, Facebook is forcing business users to move to paid advertising to get seen on the site.

For screenshots and a comprehensive look at some of the changes see this article: http://bit.ly/16ck5q0

If you’ve been following this blog you know I’ve never been a big fan of Facebook. Maintaining some presence on Facebook is important, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify and significant investment of your time on Facebook. Paid advertising options have become the most cost-effective way of leveraging this social media giant.

Facebook sending your visitors to competitors?

In related news I recently stumbled across another change on a Friend’s business Page. This seems to have received little attention, but could be devastating to your Facebook Page. Facebook may just be testing this in a limited way at this point because it does not appear on all Pages.

If this rolls out, when someone visits your Page they will be shown a strip of suggested Pages that are related to yours. It looks like this:

So essentially you as a business owner work your petutie off or pay for advertising to get your Page found and Facebook invites your visitor to check out other Pages of possible interest. Some of these could even be Pages of competing businesses as you can see from the screen shot above! You do the work to get the visitor on your Page so they can visit your competitors Page. I can only shake my head in disbelief.